NSW Coastal Alliance Slams New Coastal Management Act

The NSW State Coalition Government proclaimed its long awaited Coastal Management Act 2016 on 28 March 2018 and launched the legislation with a low-key media release. According to the NSW Coastal Alliance, the legislation is deceptive and will ultimately “rip coastal communities apart”. The NSW government had the option of setting sea level rise trigger points and deferring any punitive planning action until those trigger points were reached. Instead, it elected to allow local councils to frame a hodgepodge of sea level rise policies based on a wide range of futuristic projections. Now it is obliged to implement a policy of climate change adaptation based on either “mitigation and defensive adaptation” or “planned retreat” now known as “managed realignment”. Planned retreat being a policy of coastal surrender that restricts development, destroys property values and ultimately results in property being resumed by the state without compensation. The owners of properties identified as “vulnerable to coastal hazards” under the new Act will have their futures decided in Coastal Management Programs (CMP’s) developed by their local council. On the surface, the new Act appears to provide for mitigation planning that might involve anything from beach nourishment and dune reconstruction to engineered defences like revetment walls. In fact, the directions provided in the Coastal Manual, the government’s refusal to acknowledge the entitlement of climate change affected property owners to compensation, and the appointment of a Coastal Council biased towards coastal retreat, sets the scene for “managed realignment” up and down the NSW coastline. Managed realignment being the new bureaucratic buzzword for planned retreat. The Alliance points out that the last seven years of coastal management under a NSW State Coalition Government has been a demonstration of its ultimate objective of coastal retreat. It quotes examples from Byron Bay to the Eurobodalla where defensive engineering solutions have been rejected or delayed, and unpalatable tactics employed to sterilise the development potential of waterfront land. It even extends to the expropriation of land affected by tidal inundation, without any compensation being offered. At the same time as the state government is conniving to surrender coastal properties to the sea without compensation, it is collecting billions of dollars in coal mining royalties. It blames fossil fuel usage for causing the projected cataclysmic sea level rise but refuses to share the booty with those in its own State who will be worst affected by the fall-out. The NSW Coastal Alliance plans to hold public briefings to educate affected home owners in the lead up to the next state election.

Media Release

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